Pomeranz brimming with confidence
Rookie making the most of his opportunity with Rockies
DENVER -- Most of the messages Rockies left-handed pitcher Drew Pomeranz heard when coming out of Ole Miss in 2010 were positive.Pomeranz would be a high No. 1 pick in the MLB First-Year Player Draft. He would make a quick trip to the Majors. He had the potential to pitch at the front of a team's rotation. So imagine his shock at the message given to him by Indians, the team that picked him fifth overall, at the start of last Spring Training, his first pro experience. "They told me the first day that I didn't have a shot at making the rotation," Pomeranz said. "I was kind of like, 'Why are you telling me that?' They knew they were going to send me down. I understand that I hadn't played yet, but what if I went out there and was the best pitcher ever? If I didn't throw a ball and struck everybody out, are you still going to send me out?" Both happened. Pomeranz struck out five, walked one and didn't give up a run or a hit in three Cactus League innings, and they sent him to the Minors. "It kind of fired me up," he said. "I was dominating." And the guy who had no chance during the spring found himself in the Majors by season's end. Pomeranz, 23, was sent to the Rockies as part of a Trade Deadline deal that sent onetime ace Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians. After the trade -- and a 17-day dead period because he couldn't be officially dealt until one year after signing, and a brief absence because of an emergency appendectomy -- Pomeranz found himself in the Majors on Sept. 11. The debut was a good one. Pomeranz threw five innings and earned the decision in a 4-1 victory over the Reds at Coors Field. "I had a weird path to the big leagues," Pomeranz said. "I still came back and pitched well. Once they told me I was going to be fine after the appendectomy, that it wasn't that big a deal, I tried to push my recovery. I was trying to get back out there as soon as I can. "Somebody tells me I have a shot to make the big leagues that year, I was making that happen. You never know when that opportunity will come again." Pomeranz is making the most of his opportunity. He made Colorado's starting rotation in Spring Training. Although there have been ups and downs this season, he had his best start as a Major Leaguer to date on Wednesday. He went 6 2/3 innings of the Rockies' eventual 8-5 victory over the Dodgers. The confidence that had him believing he could make the Indians last spring despite entering camp with no pro experience helped him considerably Wednesday. He was facing 2011 National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw. "I was just going to go out there and be myself," Pomeranz said. "I can go out and pitch with the best of them. I don't care who I'm facing. I should be able to go out there, do my job and give our team a chance to win."
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.